Growing Your Linkedin Network

By David Smith

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Speaking personally – my Linkedin network is possibly my most valuable commodity.  Whether we are in    business, seeking work, working on a project, we will be able to accomplish more by tapping into the best  resources possible – People!

 ‘Many Hands Make Light Work!’  I love these truisms, they are so….True!  The support of a network vastly  accelerates the progress of any task; it will also make the end result a better quality.  It should be said at this  point….if we have a network, then we also have a responsibility to be a part of it, offering our help and resources,  we all have a part to play in making the network worth being a part of!

Trees That Are Slow to Grow Bear the Best Fruit

No, I haven’t gone all ‘Zen’ on you!  I think this applies to the way a network should be cultivated.  If you have a Twitter account, then you have probably had the experience of being followed by someone who just wants to add you to the 90,000 other followers.  You immediately think [perhaps I’m just too cynical…] ‘What does this guy want to sell me?’  It may be a huge network, but how strong is it?

If you are somewhat familiar with Linkedin, then you will probably be aware of their policy of not trying to connect with people you don’t know.  Have you ever wondered what would happen if you did try to Facebook your way to 1000+ connections [connect with all and sundry?]  I will inform you!

Looking Through the Other End of the Telescope

When we send an invite to connect with someone, they are presented with three options….

Obviously, the first one is fine; the second one may prompt a ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ shrug, but the third option?  You don’t want this.  You could [and probably will] end up with your account being restricted, even suspended or deleted!  Enough said.

Let’s just summarise this last section.  If you want 1000+ friends / contacts / followers in the first week, get a Twitter or Facebook account.  If you want to grow your Linkedin network, maybe we need to take a breath and study our options.

The Basics

Send invites to your email contact list, maybe post your Linkedin URL on your Twitter timeline etc…this may well get you started, but the key aspect of strengthening and growing your network is by ENGAGING with it – and regularly at that.

Post updates, get involved in conversations, and join groups.  If you don’t do this, you will never be noticed if you don’t speak up.  I have said it before, but I make no apologies for saying it again…’Having an online profile and not engaging is like attending a networking event and standing in a corner quietly!’

Lions and Tigers and…Let’s Stick with LIONS…

If you have been associated with Linkedin for a while, you have probably seen the term LION dotted around.  Linkedin Open Networker!!

You could become a LION, the process is painless.  Let’s test your networking skills though…if you are not sure how to do it but would like to…get in touch with me and I will give you some pointers. [Mr Restell will not thank me for posting War and Peace after all…!]

In a nutshell!  What do you do if you get invitations to connect from people you don’t know?  [don’t tell Linkedin!!]  I am a LION, so as long as the invite is from someone remotely likely to need my help [or that of the people I regularly network with..] I usually accept the invite and follow up with a message offering help at any time…I like to leave the door open so that someone feels free to ask for help.

The main thing to remember is not to get people’s backs up [especially our dear friends at Linkedin!] Don’t be a spammer; most Groups you join insist that you don’t shamelessly promote yourself or your services.  Don’t spam, stalk, fill your timeline with cute kittens or pictures of your lunch or the amazing shoes you have just seen.

If you need any clarification or advice, or if you would like to connect, follow the link to find me.

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